Some people define insanity as \”doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result\”. As for me, I would define it this.
In case you are too lazy to go read the article, or the link has expired, here are a few snippets that caught my eye:
\”Davis is part of a rising tide of Minnesota commuters leaving home long before sunrise — a group whose ranks are swelling by 10,000 people each year, new census figures show. More than 300,000 are out the door by 6 a.m., nearly twice as many as in 1990.\”
\”\’It really tells us something about the American character: that we will trade almost everything to get what we want\’ … \’Long drives before sunrise, the cost, the inconvenience, the loss of family time\’\”
\”If family time is a victim of the extended commute, however, many of those who do it say they\’re doing it for the kids. In fact, some return to the small towns they themselves grew up in, hoping to give the kids the same experience they had.\”
That last one is the classic explanation people use for when they move far outside of any metro area. \”I did it for my children.\”
All of us here at SP grew up in a small town. Austin was a good place to raise a family during the time we grew up. However, times have changed in Austin and it isn\’t quite the same \”safe\” small town it used to be; but how many of these \”safe\” small towns are left… or were all that safe to begin with? The positives of the small town always include the schools. A smaller school is perceived to be safer, and just better. But how many schools can afford to provide top of the line facilities, both classrooms and extra curriculars? What kind of quality of life are you providing for your children when you may only see for an hour a day? How many small towns have museums (I\’m not sure if the SPAM museum counts here), how diverse are the populations, how much is there to do?
Beyond the children, what kind of toll does spending that much time commuting each week do to a person\’s health and mental well-being? I\’ve been long confused with people who have moved outside the 2nd ring of suburbs here in the Twin Cities, so the thought of moving more than 60 miles away from your place of work seems unthinkable.
Now to appeal to the Republicans out there, the article also addresses the costs these commuters place on infrastructure. I love the quote from the Mayor of Mora in the article, \”Truth is, we\’d love to have a four-lane road up here … if you know anyone whose arm we can twist, we\’d love to hear about it.\” That four-lane road would be paid for by you and me. There is mention of Gov. Pawlenty looking at \”fuel-neutral mileage charges\” (why does T-Paw have such a hard-on for \”user fees\”???), but I doubt any system that would have the government monitor how much driving you do would not make it past any Republican or Democrat.
I suppose I shouldn\’t fault people who are trying to give their families what they believe to be a better life, but I wonder if many of them ponder the costs involved. Most notably, their time. As for me, I can\’t put a price on my 15 minute commute. Actually, I probably can, it\’s called my mortgage.